wool diaper covers
Diaper Accessories, Types of Diapers

Wool Diaper Covers – What Makes Them So Great?

This post on wool diaper covers contains affiliate links which means I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you if you make a purchase after clicking a link.

I have to admit: I have a new obsession with wool covers. I am so mad at myself that it took me so long to try them!

Wool diaper covers are not as common as covers made from PUL or TPU, and they have a considerably higher price tag per cover, which is why I haven’t used them until recently. However, the cost is not tit for tat, meaning that you get more value and longer use out of a wool cover. You need fewer covers when you go with wool than you do for other materials.

You get by with less of them because you do not need to wash them after every use, or even every day. I know what you’re thinking–that sounds unsanitary or disgusting.

The lanolin in the wool makes this diaper cover naturally antibacterial. It’s also what makes the diaper waterproof. When the cover gets wet, you will want to let it air dry before using it again, but once it is dry you can continue to use it without washing (for a while anyway…we will talk more about washing later). When urine hits a properly lanolized wool cover, the lanolin acts almost like soap to keep the diaper fresh.

Over some time, the lanolin will wear away and you will need to wash and lanolize your cover. This sounds like it would be a pain, but it’s much simpler than it sounds.

What Makes Wool A Good Diaper Cover Material?

wool diaper covers brand newWool is one of the most natural materials you can put on your baby, and it is pretty much the only water-resistant option for a diaper cover that isn’t made from synthetic materials. This makes it the perfect choice for babies with sensitive skin and families trying to avoid synthetic materials.

You can get by with just a couple wool covers , or if you plan not to use wool exclusively, then having one is just fine! If you only use it at night, you can let it air dry during the day. On nights where it’s drying from being washed, you will just need to find a different diapering option. But that only would need to happen once a month or so.

If you want to use wool covers often, you still only need a few of them. You can wear the same cover for days without washing. Having a few will help so you can rotate to allow drying and air time if the cover gets wet, and they can take a couple days to dry after they have been washed.

Wool has greater longevity (with proper treatment and care) than typical covers. They should easily have the lifespan to be used on multiple children.

Pros of Wool Diaper Covers

Here are all of the reasons I’m in love with wool:

  • Natural fiber
  • Sustainable & Renewable resource
  • It has its own absorbency to help absorb leaks from the diaper underneath, making it a virtually leakproof option for nights, as long as its properly lanolized.
  • Cute and stylish–can double as clothing
  • Biodegradable
  • Breathable fabric that allows for airflow to keep skin healthy
  • Warm in winter, cool in summer (only commercialized wool is hot and itchy)
  • Can go a few weeks, or even a month, without washing if it isn’t soiled
  • Great resale value
  • Never needs to be sanitized due to being naturally antibacterial

Cons of Wool Diaper Covers

Wool isn’t for everyone. Here are the cons:

  • Must be hand washed & lanolized (not difficult to do, see the section below)
  • No machine washing or drying
  • Long drying time
  • May be bulky under clothing
  • More expensive than PUL or TPU covers
  • Needs to be “broken in” to be effective

Just FYI for those new to wool– when you receive a brand new wool cover, it will not be felted yet. Felted means that the fibers tighten together, which helps make it water resistent (along with the lanolin). You will notice when you look at a new cover, you see little holes just like with any knitted item.

The wool cover with felt (or tighten) naturally on its own over time. If you want to speed up the process, there are ways to do this by hand.

Also, some new covers will say that you don’t need to lanolize before use, but most people find lanolizing new wool right away beneficial for the best results.

How to Care for Wool

how to care for wool diaper coversHere is an overview of what you should expect when caring for wool covers. This is not necessarily a step-by-step guide for washing wool (this will come in a future post), but it’s just some information to help you know what to expect.

When wool gets soiled or starts to smell, that means it could stand to be rewashed and lanolized.

Do not put in the washer or dryer. You must handwash wool, otherwise, you risk shrinking and damaging the fibers. You can handwash it in the sink with lukewarm water and some wool wash or olive oil soap. Work out any stains gently with your hands. Rinse with lukewarm water.

Some wool washes, like the Eucalan soap pictured here, contain lanolin, which means you may not need to do a full lanolin soak as often.

But if you use a soap that doesn’t have lanolin, or you feel your cover needs a boost, you can take a dab of lanolin and dissolve it in a cup of warm water to add to your sink of lukewarm water. Stir the water to try and evenly distribute the lanolin solution, and then soak your cover thoroughly.

Don’t wring out or roughly squeeze your wool. To remove excess water, try folding the cover and pressing it. This will be gentler on the fibers.

Types of Wool Diaper Covers

wool diaper covers on toddlerAs of right now, I only own a Disana wool diaper cover, but this will be changing when baby #3 comes. I am a wool convert!

I love this diaper cover because they double as pajama bottoms. My son loves wearing them, too. Here you can see my toddler wearing his. Not the most cooperative pic, but he hates being a model.

I love Disana because it is 100% organic, a reasonable price-point, and a high-quality cover. I plan to get a couple of these in their smallest size to use with my newborn diaper stash (prefolds & fitteds) when the new baby comes.

They remind me of bloomers which might be one reason why I think they’re so cool. 😉 This cover here is size 2T-3T.

You can also get wool in the form of “longies” and “shorties“… aka pants and shorts. Wool pants & shorts can also cover diapers.

There are several other wool products available for babies that you may enjoy. One thing you will notice is that prices for quality wool brands can be quite steep. That is one reason why I love Disana covers so much. Quality, but the price is reasonable.

When you opt for some cheap, thin wool, they might be fine for daytime use, but using at night may not offer as much protection as quality wool.

Using Wool At Night

My favorite use for wool covers is nighttime cloth diapering.

Many parents know the struggle of trying to find a diaper that can hold all night without leaks.

Fitteds are one of the most absorbent options for overnight, but you need a cover for a fitted. If you put a wool cover over a fitted, then you have a little bit of back up absorbency. The wool will help to make sure the fitted diaper fully absorbs all it can, but then the wool can stand to absorb the excess.

No more will your child wake up crying at 2 am with soaked sheets!

This was the reason I went ahead and bought a wool cover for my son. I wish I had done this years ago.

More posts to come on washing wool!

Have you tried wool diaper covers? What do you think? Let me know in the comments!

wool diaper covers

Holly Lee

I'm Holly and I'm the mom of two awesome young boys. We have been cloth diapering for 5 years. My family and I live in Minnesota with our dog, Ruby, and cat, Gherkin. Outside of Rocking the Cloth, I am also a middle school teacher. Thank you for visiting Rocking the Cloth--feel free to email me at holly@rockingthecloth.com if you have any questions or concerns. I'd love to help!

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10 Comments

  1. Dave Sweney says:

    When I first read the title it seemed like a counter-intuitive statement, i.e. wouldn’t wool be uncomfortable for babies and toddlers? But then I realized the covers would not be directly on the sensitive parts of the body of the kids so indeed there might be something to this. 

    Of course, I had to read more after that and I did learn a lot. I am never too old to learn (I am old though) and I do still have babies and young toddlers around (grandchildren) so I thought there might be something I can pass on to the daughters. After reading through your article, I am convinced that the kids need to try these for the young ones.

    I like the natural material angle, and the anti-bacterial aspect which means they can be used longer and less cleaning to do are big pluses in my book. For a little more work (the hand-washing and lanolizing process) you really are saving the environment. Every bit matters these days and diapers and such are a great strain on the environment. I am convinced and will pass this on. Thanks!

    1. Holly Lee says:

      Thanks, Dave! Wool covers can be helpful even for families that use disposable diapers, too! Especially at night.

  2. Kylie says:

    Wow! There are products like this? This is amazing.
    I never thought there is a product like this. So far, I have tried to use my baby’s disposable diaper only. And I admit that my baby often woke up at 3 am because of his leaky diaper.
    And, it seems like this wool diaper can be a good solution. Plus, the model of this diaper is very attractive.
    However, what makes me still doubtful is whats the advantage of wool diapers compared to the ordinary disposable diaper?

    Please help..

    1. Holly Lee says:

      Hi Kylie! If you deal with leaks at night with a disposable, you can put the wool cover on over disposables, too! They don’t have to just be used for cloth diapers.

      As far as wool vs. disposable diapers, they are just very different products, so it depends on what you typically do for your diapering at home. If you use only disposables but just deal with leaks at night, a wool cover could be helpful. If you don’t have leaks often, you may not find that it’s worth it to purchase a wool cover.

      If in general, you are wondering about choosing reusable diapers vs disposables, check out this post!

      Cloth Diapering Vs Disposable Diapers – Let’s Look At The Facts

  3. Marketa says:

    Hi Holly and thanks for your informative article about woollen nappy covers.

    Im in Australia where it’s really warm at this time of year. I like the idea of woollen covers for the fact that they are natural and Hardy but worry that they might get too hot for my boy at night. What do you think about this? Also, do you know of any Australian suppliers that I could order through? Postage cost will be an issue if I orser from overseas I think

    1. Holly Lee says:

      Hi Marketa! What’s awesome about natural wool is that it is breathable, so it can actually be cool in warm weather, too. It is thick, so might not be comfortable when you’re directly in the sun on a super hot day, but in general they allow air to flow pretty nicely.

      That is a great question about Australian suppliers. I’m afraid as an American, I’m not too familiar with the market there. But I’ll definitely do some digging and let you know if I find a good Australian supplier for these. I know cloth nappies are quite popular in Australia, too, so I imagine you would be able to find them at most suppliers that sell cloth diapers.

      Hope this helps!

  4. Grace says:

    I wished I had come across your post earlier. I used to use the TPU type and currently trying to toilet train my toddler already. 
    I have never heard of wool diaper cover. From the picture your son looks comfortable in it, and the diaper cover looks just like a regular shorts. I love fact that it is made of natural fibers, and the idea of putting it over the fitted one sounds like a great way to prevent leaks. 

    1. Holly Lee says:

      Thanks, Grace! We really love it. It can take some time to become “bulletproof” at first, which I’ll explain more in a future post, but basically it boils down to the fact that the fibers need to tighten up a bit to help with the waterproofing. The process of the fibers tightening is called felting. You can let the diaper cover felt naturally on its own by just allowing your child to wear it and move around in it, but you can also hand felt it if you want to speed up the process. Just good to note that it might take a bit of use to get “broken in”, per say.

  5. Jessie says:

    Thank you for the informative post!  I may need to get this for my little boy, who is still in diapers!  Wool has tough quality, so it will keep him from tearing it apart, as he so often likes to do with his diapers!  Do you know if this could cause him to be a little itchy?  I know for me anyhow, wool clothing is very itchy.

    1. Holly Lee says:

      Hi Jessie! Commercialized wool can be hot and itchy, but natural wool is soft and breathable. I like the Disana wool covers that are 100% organic merino wool. They don’t feel itchy to me at all on my hand, and my son has not been bothered by them while wearing it.

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